Pantheon Community

Drupal 7 & 8 EOL/upgrade plans

Hello!

I didn’t realize until recently that the D7 end-of-life date got shifted to November 2022, but nevertheless, we’re starting to think about clients with Drupal 7 sites that will eventually need upgrades in order to continue receiving updates from Drupal’s security team. Thankfully, all of our builds in the past two or three years have been in Drupal 8, so the upgrade to Drupal 9 is less daunting, but there are several whose D7 sites we still maintain.

If others are willing to share, I’m curious how you’re handling this with clients and internally as development teams. We haven’t completely finished a D7-to-D8 (let alone D9) migration/upgrade yet, but the need to reassemble Views, recreate a public theme, and deal with non-automatic migrations for features like Paragraphs and Field Collections make this seem like a fairly lofty and expensive lift for some of our builds, especially for those clients with smaller budgets. Have you found any useful development tools or other strategies to cut down on the effort and/or cost needed for these rebuilds? Any particular recommendations on how to move forward?

Thanks for any thoughts you’re willing and able to provide!

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For clients with smaller budgets or less ambitious needs (a number of them are content with their current sites), we’re updating some of them to Backdrop CMS backdropcms.org. Some of them prefer to move to WordPress, though it depends on their needs - if they need structured content or have a bunch of custom code it’s often better to stick with Backdrop. And for clients with bigger budgets or more ambition, we’re upgrading them to Drupal 8/9.

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Thanks, @herb! Backdrop was in the back of my mind, but it’s something I haven’t dug into very far yet (and it looks like there are still theme-related considerations we’ll have to think about), so your comparison of when and why you’re considering Backdrop over Drupal 8/9 is very helpful.

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While it has been a lot of work for us to transition our D7 sites to D8, it has forced us to re-think how some of the parts of the sites are architected and we’ll sometimes totally redo views, custom code, JS, etc. in new ways that are sometimes easier to maintain and style.

I do agree, though, that it is a lot of work - especially the migrations. I’ve not had to migrate Paragraphs / Field Collections (yet) but I suspect we’ll have to at some point. For the most part, the migrations have been content/taxonomy based so those have been (relatively) simple to do.

Styling has been interesting because we’re switching frameworks to using Gesso and PatternLab so, again, totally rethinking the theming layer with more modern technologies. In some ways I wish it were faster, but, I also enjoy knowing our sites are more modern at the end.

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